| technology | system admin - Ross Heintzkill
Is the CCA-V Worth It?
Now that high-speed internet access is available pretty much everywhere in the United States, a sea change has occurred in the business world. Companies used to buy all the equipment they needed to store their data, run their apps, and connect their employees with their customers. Now it's cheaper to virtualize it all. Virtualization technologies have never been more advanced or more capable, nor have they ever been as complicated.
Using a virtualization solution from a company like Citrix can save organizations a lot of money, but if done incorrectly, it can be more trouble than it's worth. That's where people with their CCA-V come in. The CCA-V is a certification that assures employers that the installation, configuration and management of the Citrix technology they invested in won't be mishandled. Find out if earning the CCA-V is worth it for your career below.
What Is the CCA-V?
The CCA-V is Citrix's associate-level certification for IT operators and administrators who work with virtualization technologies and tools provided by Citrix. The Citrix Certified Associate – Virtualization, or CCA-V, is the first of three certifications that cover virtualization. The CCA-V is a prerequisite for the professional-level CCP-V, and the expert-level CCE-V comes after that.
Someone with their CCA-V has proven that they understand the fundamentals of working with Citrix virtual applications and desktops. To earn the CCA-V, you'll need to prove familiarity with basic administration tasks like deployment, provisioning resources, profile management, and troubleshooting.
Earning the CCA-V requires passing the 1Y0-204. Although the professional and expert level certifications in virtualization cover advanced configurations, the associate-level CCA-V is more focused on whether or not an administrator can find their way around the Citrix interfaces and respond to simple problems. Someone earning their CCA-V tends to be relatively new to the career field – they'd be comfortable on a team of administrators with someone more experienced directing them.
What Does the CCA-V Exam Test?
There's only one exam for the CCA-V, 1Y0-204: Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 Administration. Citrix doesn't say exactly what the exam's objectives are, but according to Citrix, the 1Y0-204 is broken into the following sections:
- Architecture Overview
- Deploying the Site
- The Apps and Desktops Images
- Provisioning and Delivering App and Desktop Resources
- Providing Access to App and Desktop Resources
- Managing the User Experience
- Published App and Desktop Presentation and Management
- Managing Printing for User Sessions
- Citrix Profile Management
- Managing the Site
- Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Basic Security Considerations
- Monitor the Site
- Supporting and Troubleshooting Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops
- Migrating To Citrix Cloud
That might seem like a lot of ground to cover, but it's only a 90-minute exam, so it's probably a safe bet that there are only a few questions per section.
How Much Does the CCA-V Exam Cost?
The CCA-V exam only costs $200 to attempt and you can take the exam online. Just pass the exam and Citrix issues you the credential online. All of Citrix's associate-level certifications cost the same, and since it doesn't have any prerequisites, $200 is all you'll end up paying to earn the CCA-V.
It's not a complete cake walk, and you'll only have 90 minutes to take the test, so you should go into it prepared. Remember to include the cost of any courses you take to prepare for the exam.
What Experience Do You Need for the CCA-V?
The CCA-V is an associate-level certification for IT professionals who administer virtualized networks or systems. It's meant to be the first certificate an administrator earns in their virtualization career, so you need little to no formal experience before earning your CCA-V. Nevertheless, there are still things you should know how to do before attempting the CCA-V.
Before you even start preparing for the CCA-V, a fundamental understanding of Active Directory and Windows is important. You should understand the basics of administering storage and networking for a network and what virtualization is. Any prep work you'll do for the CCA-V will also depend on at least a little familiarity with Citrix and its software.
Before taking the CCA-V, you should know your way around Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (version 7). You should feel comfortable administering and configuring the software in both an on-premises environment and in the Citrix Cloud. If you've spent time troubleshooting or managing end user workspaces in the Citrix environment, you'll be well prepared for the CCA-V, especially if you understand what goes into the overall health and performance of a Citrix deployment.
Who Should Take the CCA-V?
The CCA-V is best for entry-level administrators and technicians. If you're trying to get your foot in the door, make your resume a bit more attractive in job interviews, or learn a new tool for your job, the CCA-V is a good choice. Anyone who's worked with other virtualization software and now needs to learn Citrix specifically should also consider the CCA-V.
CCA-V for Network Administrators
Yes, the CCA-V is absolutely worth it for network administrators. Whether you already have a job as a net admin or you're applying for your first position, having a CCA-V makes your resume much more attractive. Obviously it'll be most attractive to employers who use Citrix, but many managers will recognize that having it means you have a good understanding of the basics of virtualization.
If you work as a network administrator for a company that uses Citrix, the CCA-V is practically necessary. If you're a junior administrator, the CCA-V will show you the ropes of navigating Citrix's UI and maintaining good user experiences. Last, if you've been working as an administrator for a while already, the CCA-V is worth it for advancing your career to increased responsibilities.
CCA-V for a Systems Administrator
Yes, the CCA-V is probably worth it for systems administrators. Obviously, you should work with Citrix on a regular basis, and your responsibilities should include virtualization concerns. But if both of those are true, the CCA-V can be proof of your comfort troubleshooting and optimizing virtual apps and virtual desktops.
Depending on your company and how administration teams are broken up, you may not be responsible for installing, configuring or managing a Citrix Virtual Apps and Virtual Desktops environment. But if you have to manage an on-prem or cloud deployment of a Citrix virtual environment, the CCA-V is the tool made for making sure you're always comfortable. The CCA-V is especially worth it for systems administrators who deal regularly with many different programs and environments. With an associate-level understanding of Citrix's virtualization platform, you'll be proficient working with it alongside the other environments you deal with.
CCA-V for a Network Engineer
The content of the CCA-V is probably too rudimentary or simplistic to be particularly worth it for network engineers. That said, if you plan to eventually earn the professional or expert-level certifications in virtualization from Citrix, the CCA-V is a necessary first step.
Also, maybe as a network engineer you don't need to get into the detailed specifics of administration and configuration but are looking to understand Citrix's basics, so you can plan or design a network implementation. Earning the CCA-V would sufficiently cover Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops fundamentals if all you need is enough to be able compare Citrix to other virtualization vendors.
Is the CCA-V Worth It?
The CCA-V is a good certification for getting started with Citrix tech, and it's worth it for entry-level administrators who need a credential that gets them started. If you don't work with Citrix or any virtualization at all, it's probably not worth it. But if you need familiarity with Citrix virtualization –especially if it'd help your career to have proof of that familiarity – the CCA-V is an obvious choice. It can also lead to much more advanced certifications in deploying and managing some of Citrix's most powerful virtualization technology.
Using CCA-V to Learn Skills
One of the better selling points for the CCA-V is that it's maintained and published by Citrix themselves. That means someone who earns the CCA-V knows exactly what the "right" way to deploy, update, maintain and administer a Citrix virtual environment is. For someone who wants to learn virtualization by the book, the CCA-V is literally the Citrix book a beginner should learn from.
It doesn't matter whether you've got experience administering virtualized environments or no experience in it at all because as you prepare to pass the CCA-V, you'll necessarily learn everything Citrix expects a decent administrator to know.
Using CCA-V to Validate Skills
For junior administrators, the CCA-V is best used as a way to validate the skills you've acquired on the job. If you've trained yourself in basic administration and management of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7, the CCA-V stands for that time and effort. Employers like seeing certifications from the vendors of software they already use because the certification represents a commitment. Earning the certification proves you understand their network and you're committed to keeping it responsive and profitable.